July 16, 2014
This Time, We Count
One of our writers, Craig Goldstein, had an idea for the All-Star game that we didn’t get to, though I thought it had some merit: Which All-Star games have “belonged” to which players? Last year’s “belonged” to Mariano Rivera, for instance. Cal Ripken’s final game “belonged” to Cal Ripken, and so on. This year’s belonged to Derek Jeter like nothing in baseball has ever belonged to anything else. Bud Selig’s retirement was limited to a two-question commercial-break interruption. Tony Gwynn’s death was not even mentioned, not once. Neither was the death of Ralph Kiner. There was no aside noting that Tim McCarver was enjoying retirement after calling more All-Star games with Joe Buck than any broadcast duo in history. This was all Jeter’s.
How much so? I counted every time Jeter’s name was said during the game, and I counted every time the camera showed Jeter in a non-necessary shot, i.e., not while he was batting, running the bases, fielding a ball, etc. This wasn’t an original idea; Paul Boye was counting Jeter mentions and camera shots before he got exhausted by the task in the fourth inning. Deadspin’s Timothy Burke, more resourceful than me, counted the mentions in the closed captioning logs. Heavens, do I wish I’d thought to do that (or knew how to do that). Thanks to him, you can even watch every instance, some of which came in the pre-game (which I didn’t count).
I also counted every other player’s mentions. Partly to put Jeter’s ownership of this All-Star game in perspective. Partly because I was just curious if it would turn into something interesting. The results:
Pretty good! As for the rest,
The guys who did things:
The second-tier stars
The guys America just got introduced to, briefly:
The All-Stars at least one of the three announcers had never heard of:
Hunter Pence/unused bench players:
There needs to be an All-Star Ownership stat to put this in perspective—ratio of one player’s mentions to the next highest, or something. If my count is close to correct, Jeter’s mentions outnumber the cumulative mentions of 28 other All-Stars. They match the combined mentions of the game’s MVP, the MVP runner-up, the winning pitcher, and the guy who got the save.